United’s triple not enough
Hindringham 4, Watton United 3
Watton travelled to their Division One counterparts hoping to put a halt to their blip in form which has seen them lose their last two games by the odd goal after a run of five unbeaten – but despite scoring three times it was not enough.
It was the hosts who started the stronger, clearly relishing playing on a home surface which has seen few games this season due to a ongoing clubhouse refurbishment.
The visitors started sluggishly and soon found themselves one goal down after neat counter-attack down the Hindringham right.
Despite retaining the majority of possession, United too frequently lost momentum, much to the frustration of manager Harwood. With Hindringham looking dangerous on the break it was Bond finding himself the busier of the two keepers, producing a number of saves before Bloomfield levelled proceedings with a fine header after neat play between Callaghan and M Woods. It was level pegging at half-time.
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United returned for second half more composed and duly took a deserved lead firstly through Bloomfield's second after good work by Huckle and then through a delightful left-foot lob from Woods.
Either side of these, however, United proceeded to gift Hindringham equalisers within minutes of the restarts. With confidence reeling and players feeling the effects of the energy-sapping heat, Harwood decided to relieve some tired legs and brought on H Brown and Ward.
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The game appeared to be heading towards a fair result for both sides until the Hindringham left-back, who clearly hadn't read the script, produced a fine run and shot after being given far too much space.
The result was harsh on United, who must now pick themselves up and look to regain March's form for the weekend trip to champions-elect Wells.
WATTON United Reserves played their penultimate game when they visited Long Stratton Reserves in a six-pointer, and probably produced their best performance of the season against a strong side who had strengthened with a few first-team regulars.
In a goal-less first half, Watton's young team played some neat passing football, retaining possession well, and Softley and Robinson going close, and a great run from Dave Wilkinson almost putting Watton into a deserved lead.
The back line was marshalled well by Hayward, with Mckeever and new boys Hart and Darren Wilkinson rarely allowing Long Stratton to trouble Bridges in Watton's goal, and a great holding midfield performance from McCullouch in midfield stifled the home side's passages of play through the middle, allowing striker Jones to pressurise the Stratton back line with his strength and direct running.
In a remarkable opening 25 minutes of the second period, Watton found themselves holding onto a 3-0 lead with close-range efforts from Robinson, Dave Wilkinson, and cultured strike from Softley from the edge of the area after an interchange of passes with captain Robinson down the right.
A consolation in the dying stages to make it 3-1 wasn't enough to offer the hosts any sort of lifeline, and man-of-the-match award this week is given to the whole side who turned in what could turn out to be a season-defining team performance.
It sees the Reserves move up to 11th, two places from the relegation zone on 18 points.
This week, Watton visit St Andrews Reserves for the last game of the season.